CMNH 5K + 1: The Sequel

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Last year, I ran the Children’s Museum 5K Road Race with a 6 month old. It was definitely a different experience from the previous races I had run. My son, wearing a *slightly* smaller version of the Captain America shirt that Daddy runs in, mostly stayed quiet the whole race while I talked loudly and often to him throughout the race. It was the first time during a race that – when encountering a downhill portion of the course – I yelled, “Wheeeee!”

Like I said, a different experience.

This year, the experience changed again.

#1. That 6 month old suddenly (at least it felt sudden) had become an 18 month old, had a mouth full of teeth, is obsessed with his Thomas the Tank Engine sunglasses and waving and shouting to most people (and animals – especially animals) he sees on a leisurely walk around our neighborhood. A very busy Road Race & Fun Run? Would it be too overwhelming? Would he have a meltdown? Would I need to keep raisins in my shorts pocket? He loves raisins.

#2. As the museum’s Media Producer, I would be photographing and videotaping different portions of Race Day. And pushing my son in the stroller at the same time.

#3. If things turned upside-down (something that any parent of a toddler can attest happens roughly every 20-30 minutes), I would have to leave the course and head back to the museum for an extended raisin-filled time out.

Please enjoy the following look at our participating in the 30th Annual CMNH 5K Road Race and Fun Run.

Father & Son, pre-race

Father & Son, pre-race, sporting the official hashtag of the CMNH Road Race!

Long time volunteers and former staff help man the registration tables for those picking up their race bibs and the many racers that wait to check the weather that morning and register the day of the race

Long time volunteers and former staff Ann, Gabe & Anne help man the registration tables for those picking up their race bibs and the many racers that wait to check the weather that morning and register the day of the race

It was still a little chilly about 15 minutes before race time.

It was still a little chilly about 15 minutes before race time.

One of the largest groups of runners at this year's race!

One of the largest groups of runners at this year’s race!

Getting to the starting line on time can be difficult when there's a . . . FIRETRUCK PIT STOP!

Getting to the starting line on time can be difficult when there’s a . . . FIRETRUCK PIT STOP!

Face Painting is always a popular activity at our road races.

Face Painting is always a popular activity at our road races.

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CMNH Volunteer and Miss Teen NH Caroline moments before she sings the National Anthem.

CMNH Volunteer and Miss Teen NH Caroline moments before she sings the National Anthem.

One more minute until the starting pistol starts the 30th Annual CMNH 5K Road Race!

One more minute until the starting pistol starts the 30th Annual CMNH 5K Road Race!

On your mark . . . Get set . . .

On your mark . . .
Get set . . .

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Making our way up Central Avenue!

Making our way up Central Avenue!

Cutting across Chapel Street next to Kendall Pond Pizza II & Janetos!

Cutting across Chapel Street next to Kendall Pond Pizza II & Janetos!

The Dover Mounted Patrol joined our volunteers at Rogers St in cheering on the races. (Which also convinced my son that there would be horses waiting for him at the end of every street we passed.)

“Horsies! Horsies!” the voice from the stroller cried out as we continued up Portland Ave. The Dover Mounted Patrol joined our volunteers at Rogers St in cheering on the races. (Which also convinced my son that there would be horses waiting for him at the end of every street we passed.)

Long time CMNH volunteer Frank prepares runners for the Fairway Meadows Cul-de-sac

Long time CMNH volunteer Frank prepares runners for the Fairway Meadows Cul-de-sac. What he DIDN’T prepare me for is that there would be cute puppy dogs that live on said cul-de-sac. Cute puppy dogs that my son INSISTED we stop the stroller for so we could point at them. Repeatedly. “Doggie, Doggie, Doggie!” was his repeated yelp. That is, until he came up to the top of the loop and quickly remembered that his grandfather was helping to man the water station!

It's all (mostly) downhill after the Mile #2 marker!

It’s all (mostly) downhill after the Mile #2 marker! And this is about when the cries for, “Grampa!” finally gave way to “Balloon! Balloon! Balloon!”, which itself turned to excited garbles of “PONYHORSIEPONY!” as we approached the Mounted Patrol Stables on Cocheco Street.

CMNH volunteer & balloon wrangler Jess mans the hill leading from Cocheco Street to Portland Avenue.

CMNH volunteer & balloon wrangler Jess mans the hill leading from Cocheco Street to Portland Avenue.

Looking out over the Cocheco River as we round the bend towards Mile Marker #3!

Looking out over the Cocheco River as we round the bend towards Mile Marker #3!

Can it really be Mile #3?! Are we almost there?

Can it really be Mile #3?! Are we almost there?

These two long time CMNH members both participated on race day; 5K for Mom and Fun Run for Son!

These two long time CMNH members both participated on race day; 5K for Mom and Fun Run for Son!

Two local runners who run the CMNH 5K every year!

Two local runners who run the CMNH 5K every year!

Long time Children's Museum 5K mascot, Albert the Alligator

Long time Children’s Museum 5K mascot, Albert the Alligator getting ready for the Fun Run! (Has anyone else ever noticed that Doug is always missing when it’s time for the Fun Run? Hmmmmm . . .)

Stop the presses - BANANA BREAK!

Stop the presses – BANANA BREAK!

CMNH Educator Sarah and Albert the Alligator lead the junior racers in some stretches before the race begins

IMAG3626_1 CMNH Educator Sarah and Albert the Alligator lead the junior racers in some stretches before the race begins

And they're off!

And they’re off!

My wife and son running in the Toddler 50 yd. dash. He might just make this!

My wife and son running in the Toddler 50 yd. dash. He might just make this!

You've . . . um, gone off course . . .

You’ve . . . um, gone . . . off course . . .

And . . . he's decided he's running an entirely different race now. To each his own!

And . . . he’s decided he’s running an entirely different race now. To each his own!

CMNH volunteer extraordinaire Terri mans the CMNH/Hannaford Foodworks Yogurt Bar in Henry Law Park

CMNH volunteer extraordinaire Terri mans the CMNH/Hannaford Foodworks Yogurt Bar in Henry Law Park

You'd be bananas to miss out on the miles of food post-race at our Hospitality Tent! (See what I did there?)

You’d be bananas to miss out on the miles of food post-race at our Hospitality Tent! (See what I did there?)

Bookings Manager Caitlynne, Corporate Relations Manager Katie and CMNH Board Member Sarah were running behind the scenes all morning to make sure everything ran smoothly!

Bookings Manager Caitlynne, Corporate Relations Manager Katie and CMNH Board Member Sarah were running behind the scenes all morning to make sure everything ran smoothly!

Well, that’s another CMNH Road Race & Fun Run in the books! We’re already preparing for Race #31! Did you run the race? We hope you had as much fun as we did!

Welcome to our new website

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As the Children’s Museum of NH approached its 30th birthday, board and staff members were completing a long-range plan process and it was clear that the museum was ripe for an image update. Our previous logo, graphics and website had served us well as we transitioned from our Portsmouth location to Dover, but now we were looking ahead to the next decade and wanted to reflect our plans for transformation.

Our new branding was developed in partnership with Haigh & Martino (HAM), a Portsmouth-based “design think tank” that helped us identify our strengths, hone our message and think outside the box. We wanted our branding to represent the creative, forward-thinking nature of our business, the connections we create with children, families and schools, and the infinite possibilities of young minds.

CMNH-logo-main-lockupHAM came to us with several creative concepts and our team immediately honed in on this one: vibrant hinged letters that spelled out our name but also could morph into an endless array of objects and shapes. We loved the flexibility this solution offered, allowing our identity to grow and change with us, while maintaining a distinctive look and feel.

Using theCMNH-Icon-Gundalow straight and curved pieces of our new custom alphabet letters, HAM set about creating a set of icons for us to be used in our communications. Some, like the gundalow, represented exhibiCMNH_IconsInStateShapets and objects found in the museum. Others could be used to illustrate posters for our programs and events. And a number of the icons could even be combined to create images like this design of the State of New Hampshire, used on a banner in Henry Law Park.

Last summer, we began unveiling our new branding, starting with signage on the front ofRevealEvent_CrowdFromBack our building. On a beautiful morning, we gathered with museum members and supporters to reveal our new exterior signage and celebrate with colorful games and crafts like tie-dying t-shirts using our new brand colors.

Next, we rolled out new stationery and collateral materials – from brochures and nametags to stickers and a new look for our quarterly newsletter. All that remained now was to redesign the museum’s website with a new look and updated functionality.

2015WebsiteHomepageWorking with Haigh & Martino, we reviewed different design concepts that incorporated our new branding, and chose the bold design you see today. The new site is based on the Craft CMS platform and is completely mobile friendly, something we know our members will appreciate. With large graphic buttons and a complete yet succinct menu, the site is easy to navigate and features tons of photos that really give prospective visitors a great idea of what they can see and do here.

Website2015_CalendarScreenshotWe also built a custom calendar that allows users to filter events and programs by age or by type. You can quickly see what’s coming up just for babies and toddlers, tweens, and other age groups in between. Calendar events also link directly with related webpages for more information.

We hope you’ll take a few minutes to explore the new site and see what a great browsing experience it provides, whether you are looking at it on your phone, tablet or laptop. We are pleased to have this final piece of our rebranding project go public, and we look forward keeping it updated with great content for families, teachers, supporters, and partner organizations.

Pi Day 2015

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Yesterday, March 14th, in addition to being Albert Einstein’s 136th birthday, was Pi Day. March 14th = 3.14 = Pi Day. Since Physicist Larry Shaw put together the first official Pi Day celebration in San Francisco back in 1988, the deliciously mathematical holiday has only grown exponentially in popularity.

Last year, we focused more on the delicious side of Pi Day festivities. This year? We got down to pi business. Because many of our visitors are still in elementary school, trying to explain pi exclusively with terms like “irrational number”, “mathematical constant” or “Madhava-Leibniz series” isn’t exactly the most fruitful plan of attack.

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So how can you make the math fun? Multiplication? No problem. Geometrical shapes? Sure. But the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter? That’s a bit bigger of a fraction to follow!

Enter Museum Educator Sarah Terry. I asked Sarah, who returned to CMNH at the end of 2014 after first joining our team in October of 2011, how she approached a subject that seems, on the surface, to be rather dry and difficult to build a day of fun around.

“I’ve always thought math was a lot of fun,” Sarah said. “There’s something so satisfying about working with problems and equations that can be solved. In the humanities, you don’t come across too many situations where there is a definitive right answer. It tends to be based on opinion. Well-reasoned and supported opinions, but still debatable. The rationality of mathematics always seemed comforting in comparison.”

But can Rational = Interesting? Can Rational = Fun? Sarah was confident it could be both.

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“When you come across something like pi, which is an infinite number with no apparent pattern or repetition, it’s pretty mind-blowing,” admits Sarah. “How can something as crazy and enormous of a number that’s been calculated out thus far to over 12 trillion digits also be considered a mathematical constant? Every circle that has been or ever will be created will find that its circumference divided by its diameter will be pi. It’s unwieldy and baffling and I looked forward to coming up with activities that could show our visitors that things as awesome as pi actually make math – yes, math – pretty cool!”

Using CMNH’s Colorful Classroom space as her home base, Sarah taught visitors young and old about pi. Some had never heard of it. Some had learned about it in school but had forgotten the specifics. Some were wearing Pi Day shirts. Using a variety of colorful craft activities coupled with the promise that if you located her over the course of Pi Day and recited a fact about Pi, Sarah would paint the pi symbol on your cheek, visitors left yesterday with a newfound appreciation – and hopefully, enthusiasm – for the wild, wacky, infinite constant that is pi!

We hope you and your family had a Happy Pi Day and look forward to you spending Pi Day 2016 with us here at CMNH!

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Circles, circles, everywhere!

“Pi lets us show off the oddball side of math and lets us stretch our imaginations,” Sarah said.

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What’s a Pi Chain? Good question! Here’s the answer: 0-9 are each represented by a color. Following the order of numbers in pi, can you make an accurate chain that is correctly represented by the 10 colors? Can you make a longer Pi Day Pi Chain than your friends and family?

 

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Even the streamers never rested from the continual recitation of pi!

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Will You Be Our Valentine?

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Valentine’s Day is a pretty big deal at a Children’s Museum and here at CMNH, it’s no different.

We’re in the middle of hosting our first ever Alice in Wonderland Tea Party and it’s a huge hit! Don’t worry: there’s no calling for “off with their heads”! Instead, we’re enjoying tea, juice, decorating our own cookies and flowers, and listening to the Queen of Hearts read from Lewis Carroll’s 1865 classic.

The Three of Hearts (Meghan) & The Queen of Hearts (Sarah) preside over the CMNH Alice in Wonderland Tea Party

The Three of Hearts (Meghan) & The Queen of Hearts (Sarah) preside over the CMNH Alice in Wonderland Tea Party

While we celebrate this holiday full of love, friendship and fun, take a walk down memory lane with some of these special valentines from decades past. Do you remember any of them? Did you give or receive some of these when you were a child?

Dorothy & The Tin Man - The Wizard of Oz, 1930s

Dorothy & The Tin Man – The Wizard of Oz, 1930s

Superman, 1940s

Superman, 1940s

Sorcerer Mickey - Fantasia, 1950s

Sorcerer Mickey – Fantasia, 1950s

Ludwig Von Drake, 1950s

Ludwig Von Drake, 1950s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Batman, 1960s

Batman, 1960s

Huckleberry Hound, 1960s

Huckleberry Hound, 1960s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ronald McDonald, McDonald's - 1970s

Ronald McDonald, McDonald’s – 1970s

Miss Piggy & Animal - The Muppets, 1980s

Miss Piggy & Animal – The Muppets, 1980s

Donatello, Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1980s

Donatello, Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1980s

 

Wicket & R2-D2 - Return of the Jedi, 1980s

Wicket & R2-D2 – Return of the Jedi, 1980s

Tails & Sonic - Sonic the Hedgehog, 1990s

Tails & Sonic – Sonic the Hedgehog, 1990s

Michael Jordan - Chicago Bulls, 1990s

Michael Jordan – Chicago Bulls, 1990s

Raccoon Mario - Super Mario Brothers 3, 1990s

Raccoon Mario – Super Mario Brothers 3, 1990s

 

Donkey - Shrek, 2000s

Donkey – Shrek, 2000s

Wall-E, 2000s

Wall-E, 2000s

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CMNH Staff celebrating Valentine’s Day 2015

The picture above is of CMNH staff showing all the ways that your donation to the museum helps us achieve our mission and vision every day. If you want to be our Valentine this year, please take a look at our Start Strong Fund initiative and see how you can help today and every day in the lives of the children and families in our community.

Happy Valentine’s Day from your friends at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire!

 

 

Daydreaming on a Winter Day

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My snowy backyard in Kittery, Maine / February 2015

Looking past the snow piled outside my window on a cold February day, it is easy to daydream of warm breezes, family road trips and summer adventures that are many months in the future.

For the past three years, the Museum’s car raffle fundraiser has given people a reason to daydream the winter away, hoping to win a fun summer ride in the spring.

This year we’ve changed up the format a bit – our Joyride Raffle gives one lucky winner their choice of a new Nissan Quest S minivan, a Harley Davidson Glide motorcycle or $20,000 cash prize.* Our second prize winner will ride away on a 2015 Honda Ruckus scooter thanks to our friends at Nault’s Powersports.

CarRaffleParty_WholeCrowd_WebWith a maximum of 750 total tickets sold, the odds of winning are exponentially better than the Powerball (an estimated 1 out of 176 million)! We’ll be drawing the winning tickets at Port City Nissan on April 16th — and I can tell you from past drawings that it’s pretty exciting to be in a room with people anticipating that they will win a big prize!

If I won this year’s raffle, I would have difficulty deciding which prize to choose.

NissanQuestS_titaniumI can see myself driving the Nissan Quest to White Lake on a balmy summer day, with plenty of room for my kids, their friends, a picnic lunch and inflatable tubes.

2015 CVO Street GlideOr maybe the Harley Street Glide is the way to go. I don’t have a motorcycle license, but my husband does, and driving down coastal roads with the scent of salt air and the sun warming my back would be pure joy.

Then there is always the cash prize. I could be practical and invest my winnings for the kids’ college or retirement OR I could splurge on a once-in-a-lifetime family vacation to Europe, home improvements or a combination of these options.

2014HondaRuckusEven if I wasn’t the grand prize winner, the Honda Ruckus second prize would be a great way to zip around town for errands and fun trips to places where parking is at a premium. I would put a basket on the front of mine.

The great news is that one of these daydreams can come true for anyone who participates in the Joyride Raffle.

Now my question is: if you win the Joyride Raffle, which prize will you choose?

For more information or to purchase your own Joyride Raffle ticket(s), visit this link or call the Museum at 603-742-2002 during normal business hours. Proceeds benefit the Museum’s programs and exhibits.

* see website for full details, taxes not included

French Toast Teamwork

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The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire recently hosted the Mini-Iron Chef: Breakfast Challenge. The Mini-Iron Chef competition is part of our Foodworks Series in cooperation with Hannaford Supermarkets.

As in past years, this year’s Challenge saw parent and child teams compete together to make a delicious meal with a secret ingredient unknown to the participants until seconds before the food prep started! Joining past secret ingredients such as honey and vanilla yogurt, this year’s teams had to figure out how to best incorporate flax seed into their recipes.

Some of the teams were familiar with flax seed while others were not, but all rose to the challenge of altering their recipes with the healthy addition.

Many of our teams practiced their recipes at home leading up to the event while some teams wanted to capture the fun of trying it out for the first time during the challenge.

Our Judging Panel consisted of Heidi Kermin, a Registered Dietician with Hannaford Supermarkets and Victor Larose, an Assistant Store Manager of a Hannaford Supermarket. They were joined by yours truly, Zach Foote, of the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire.

I speak for all the judges when I say we were absolutely blown away by the creativity, quality, and deliciousness of each and every dish we tasted. The presentation of most of these dishes outshone many professional restaurants.

We look forward to the announcement of the next Mini-Iron Chef Challenge. No matter the challenge theme or secret ingredient, we know these family teams will all earn five stars!

Now take a look back at this year’s Mini-Iron Chef: Breakfast Challenge!

The Foodworks Series of programs take place at CMNH every other month. Please check our website and social media for updates about all future programming.

Children’s Museum of NH Alzheimer’s Cafe featured on NHPTV

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Screen shot 2015-02-04 at 2.50.18 PMThe Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s Alzheimer’s Café was recently featured on New Hampshire Public Television’s new series, Changing Aging in the Granite State. The episode premiered on Thursday, January 15, 2015 and featured Judy and Woody Sponaugle of Rye, NH who attend the museum’s free, monthly Café.

AlzCafe_Oct2012_Group4CropThe Alzheimer’s Café at the museum started in 2011 and meets on the third Thursday of each month from 2–4pm. The Café is a supportive and welcoming place for people living with dementia and their care partners to spend an afternoon of conversation and socializing. Refreshments are provided and reservations are not required.

In 2012, the CAlzCafe_June2014_HatGroup_HiReshildren’s Museum of NH received the Leaders in Innovation award from the New England Museum Association for the Alzheimer’s Café program. The Museum is partnering with the Keene State College Nursing Department to research the benefits of attending an Alzheimer’s Café for caregivers and people living with dementia. We will be sharing more details on this as research continues.

The Changing Aging in the Granite State Alzheimer’s Café episode can be streamed online at http://www.nhptv.org/aging/

Paula with Alzheimer's Cafe attendees at a recent Alzheimer's Walk

Paula with Alzheimer’s Cafe attendees at a recent Alzheimer’s Walk

Collaborative Bike Rack Project

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Throughout 2014, the Dover Middle School Art Club collaborated with CMNH Artist-in-Residence Nathan Walker to create two Bike Racks for Henry Law Park in downtown Dover, NH. Made possible by the generous sponsorship of Kennebunk Savings, the bike rack design & completion process has been one of the most fulfilling and exciting projects that Children’s Museum has been involved in since moving to Dover in 2008.

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At the beginning of the year, the Art Club – led by Dover Middle School Art teachers Marie Robicheau &P1130908 Jo-Ann Gardella, met with Walker in his workshop in the lower level of CMNH. Before starting down the path of artistic collaboration, Walker wanted to show the students how he approached design. The students were able to see a large spectrum of Walker’s work in various stages of completion. Many of the sculptures viewed that day had P1130899one of Walker’s hallmarks: repurposed materials. From the Volkswagen Beetle hood that forms the back of the Giant Blue Crab in the front of CMNH to the various spiders, jellyfish and insects comprised of gears, hubcaps and Christmas Tree stands, the Art Club saw that their imagination was truly the P1130902limit in creating a bicycle rack for P1130898families visiting Henry Law Park. Walker also reinforced that the design process, where the eraser P1130896can sometimes be used just as much as the pencil, was equally as important as the building process.

The Art Club continued to meet under the guidance of Robicheau & Gardella while the students formed groups that would meet to discuss their ideas and draw up plans for their respective group’s vision for a bike rack. In addition to their design on paper, the groups were also tasked by Walker to create 3-D prototypes and models to better show how their bike rack design would work.

In April, Children’s Museum 0f New Hampshire President Jane Bard, Brendan Markey of Kennebunk Savings, and Walker met with Robicheau, Gardella and the assembled Dover Middle School Art Club as they prepared P1130918to pitch their completed ideas to the group.

Though the initial plan was to select one of the team’s ideas to make a single bike rack, Walker liked all of the ideas so much, that the choice was made that two racks would be created with each incorporating pieces of each group’s design ideas.

Three of the teams ideas would be incorporated into becoming the Steampunk Octopus Screenshot 2015-01-19 13.42.11Bike Rack, while two other teams would see their designs overlap to become the State of New Hampshire Bike Rack. After the Art Club members decided on which NH landmarks to include on the state themed rack, CMNH volunteer Barbara Albert got to work painting the finer details. Meanwhile, Nate began work on the foraging, welding, and color experimentation for the large steampunk cephalopod.

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In October, the Art Club returned to the Museum with their original prototypes to see the final product of their combined visions. Dover Mayor Karen Weston joined Bard, Walker, the Art Club and their family and friends for the grand unveiling of the first bike rack, Steampunk Octopus, in upper Henry Law Park near the entrance of the museum.

 

This spring, the New Hampshire Bike Rack will be unveiled in lower Henry Law Park near the entrance of the Dover Indoor Pool.IMAG2269

January in New Hampshire isn’t the best weather for families to ride their bikes, but we look forward to a few months from now when families visiting Henry Law Park will have two highly creative options for storing their bicycle while they visit the park, museum, stage, pool, river walk, picnic areas and playground.

We thank the incredibly imaginative and skilled members of the Dover Middle School Art Club, their teachers and mentors Marie Robicheau & Jo-Ann Gardella, the generous support of Kennebunk Savings – without which, this project would not have been possible – and, of course, Nate Walker, who took the inventive visions of the Club and made them a reality.

B-r-r-r-r-r-r! See you all - and your bikes - in a few more months!

B-r-r-r-r-r-r! See you all – and your bikes – in a few more months!

 

Make It or Break It Club – Now On Tuesdays!

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Museum Educator Jenaya has some news for all of you. The rumors are true! Make It or Break It Club, the weekly maker focused after school program at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, has moved to Tuesday afternoon.

Make It or Break It Club is geared toward children in 1st-7th Grade with different levels of projects available to create, deconstruct and explore each week.

Take it away, Jenaya!

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